A Tooele woman made her initial appearance in 3rd District Court on Monday after she was charged with intentionally setting a fire in a residence.
Erma Jean Prince, 22, is charged with first-degree felony aggravated arson and second-degree felony criminal mischief.
Tooele City police responded to a residence on 600 North at 6:43 p.m. on April 6 on report of a possible arson, according to a police report. The responding officer spoke with a witness on scene, who said he first noticed a pile of debris behind the same apartment window as the suspected arson about a week ago and he attempted to contact the apartment occupant.
The witness told police around 3 p.m. he noticed the same window was burned and he attempted to make contact with the rentee, the report said. The maintenance man for the apartment complex suggested looking inside the residence in case there was an electrical problem.
Another individual at the scene said it was possible Prince had started the fire, as she had broken the window a week ago, the police report said. The responding officer collected a melted bottle at the scene of the fire, which had an odor of gasoline. It was photographed and booked into evidence.
Police received information that Prince, who was seen in the area prior to the arson and was a parole fugitive, was staying at a motel in Tooele City, according to the police report. Several officers responding to the motel, where Prince was contacted and eventually agreed to speak with investigators at the police station.
After being read her rights, Prince told police she believed she knew what the interview was about, because she was told someone threw a “fire bomb” at the apartment her ex-boyfriend was staying at.
After saying there were other people who had reason to cause the fire, Prince eventually admitted to investigators she caused the fire, the police report said. She told police she filled up a bottle with gasoline at a gas station, dumped it on the back of the apartment and lit it on fire with a match. She also admitted to breaking the window the previous week.
Prince was appointed counsel during Monday’s appearance and is scheduled to return to 3rd District Court for a scheduling conference on May 21 at 9 a.m.